The objectives of this study were to compare the growth of prairie forb seedlings inoculated with vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi to noninoculated seedlings transplanted to a highway right-of-way and to evaluate the effect of different VAM fungal species or combinations on posttransplant seedling growth. Four species of prairie forbs: pale-purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida Nutt.), prairie blazingstar (Liatris pycnostachya Michx.), prairie phlox (Phlox pilosa L.), and gray-headed coneflower [Ratibida pinnata (Venten.) Barnh.], were grown in greenhouse mix and inoculated with Gigaspora margarita Becker and Hall, or Glomus interadicies Schenk and Smith, or with a native Indiana prairie soil inoculum, or with a mix of all three. They were transplanted to a highway site in June, 1994. Only gray-headed coneflower exhibited a positive growth response to VAM inoculation. Inoculation of gray-headed coneflower with G. margarita produced the largest growth response by the end of the experiment.
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